WIT Press

Role Of Supervision Systems In Railway Safety


Free (open access)

Paper DOI









468 kb


F. Belmonte, J.-L. Boulanger, W. Schön & K. Berkani


The new generation of supervision systems in industry can achieve operation from display process variables to all automated control where the human is just the monitoring automaton. In the railway specific industry, supervision is organised in switching zones and aims to be centralised in an Integrated Control Centre. Such centres implement integrated and computer based systems that perform train protection, train operation and supervision. Thus railway dispatchers using supervision have their tasks considerably simplified. Although considered today as not safety critical, railway supervision systems can contribute to safety in some scenarios where an appropriate decision of a supervision operator could notably reduce the severity of accidents. That is in particular the case for residual scenarios (intervention of maintenance teams on the tracks, manual operation of trains not protected by train protection system, coupling/uncoupling, emergency requiring the stopping and evacuation of a train etc) only covered by procedure, thus requiring human intervention by a person supposed correctly informed on the state of the system, thanks to the data provided by the supervision system. Keywords: supervision, automatic train control, safety, human factor. 1 Introduction Whatever the degree of human presence aboard trains, all railway lines have however a system which centralizes for operators of a central room, as well the operations of traffic control (signalization, traced routes etc.) as operations of traffic regulation. Formerly analogical, today technology is becoming numerical. Therefore, it is now possible to generalize the centralization of many functionalities formerly carried out locally by operators on-site (signals and


supervision, automatic train control, safety, human factor.